In some industries, exposure to loud noises is part of workers’ everyday reality. Working in a loud environment can injure the ears and result in hearing loss. When you’ve experienced excessive noise at work, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits to account for your hearing injuries.
Which Workers Are Most Frequently Exposed to Loud Noises?
In a work setting, noise exposure is usually the result of machinery operation. Factory equipment, vehicles, and other tools may be necessary for an employee to complete their job duties, but these tools also expose workers to loud noises.
At-risk employees may work in:
- Event production
OSHA Sound Regulations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established regulations on the level of noise that is safe in the workplace. Noise is measured in decibels, which range from 20 decibels (equivalent to the level of sound in a “silent study room") to 130 decibels (equivalent to the loudness of a “jet taking off”).
In the workplace, OSHA allows a “permissible exposure limit” (PEL) of 90 decibels during an 8-hour workday. According to their sound level chart, 90 decibels is equivalent to the amount of noise a person may encounter in a boiler room. If an employee is exposed to a noise level over 90 decibels, then that employee must work fewer hours in a given day.
The Responsibility of Employers
Legally, companies are required to ensure that their workers are not exposed to noise levels greater than the OSHA limit. To avoid citations, companies should check the decibel levels in the workplace and make sure they are compliant.
An employer is also responsible for supplying their workers with the proper safety equipment to protect their ears, such as headphones or earplugs. Additionally, companies should conduct regular safety checks to ensure that any equipment they do provide to their employees is in working order and able to protect them from injury.
Workers’ Compensation for Ear Injuries and Hearing Loss
If you developed hearing loss or another injury because of long-term exposure to loud noise in your workplace, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Our lawyers can help you build a claim and negotiate with your employer.To learn about your rights, contact the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley. Our attorneys are available to speak to you during a free consultation — complete our contact form or call (530) 413-0245 to get in touch with us